Two Weeks In: The Beginning Of A Vegetarian Life?

So, a little over two weeks ago I stated that I was going to try and remove meat from my diet. I was reluctant to say the word vegetarian, however. I couldn’t even say it to my boyfriend, or my family. I told them “I want to eat as little meat as possible.” Yeah, that’s why I went out on payday and bought all of the veggies I could get my hands on. Seriously. I never used to buy so many veggies, and if I did chances are they were frozen. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, let me start there. But this time around, instead of my frozen corn and brussel sprouts, I got all sorts of lettuces that I’ve never tried, broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green onions, cilantro and that’s just the few that come to the top of my head. I’ve never really had room in my budget for fresh produce because I was saving most of my money for meat.

That’s the first thing I noticed, more money for the things that make me feel good, that until now were a luxury. Really. Artihcokes were a luxury. I couldn’t condone spending a whole dollar on the worlds smallest artichoke, when you only get such a tiny amount to eat from them. I bought two, and it didn’t even hurt. I couldn’t condone spending so much on herbs that I could just grow, so I’ve rarely bought herbs from a store unless they were dried. (And I still think growing them is the preferred method.) I even spent the extra dollar to buy dried beans because you get more in a bag than you do in a can. I’ve never even had a reason to do so until now. But beans are soon to be my main course in at least a few meals, I have the reason to get all fancy with my beans.

Why does it all feel so fancy? Buying fresh produce feels freakin’ fancy right now. And that’s not even considering the food I’ve made with it. Walking out of the super market with a paper bag (one paper bag, already less waste!) full of produce is kind of fancy. That’s what you see in comercials on prime time tv. It feels fancy because meat was always my mian course, meat is expensive, I never had the extra money for the produce to go with the meat, unless it was potatoes and an onion.

So, that’s my shopping experience. Filling up my cart with produce as my boyfriend shops for the biggest piece of meat that he can find that won’t break his wallet and will feed him for a week, I’ve got the whole top part of the cart full and he’s got just one measly package of meat and some cheese in his (and eventually he grabbed greenbeans to make stew). Onto the kitchen. I spent that afternoon cooking.I made myself some sesame noodles, which turned into a few lunches last week. I also made some rice and bean concoction, mixing crushed tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion and carrots into it. This became the stuffing for some tortilla burritos, which became the other half of my lunches for the week. I had already been having overnight oats for breakfast in the mornings, so that was a quick and easy thing to make up every couple of nights. Then I had to figure out something for dinners, which wasn’t terribly hard. One of the nights I went out with my dad and his girlfriend, and I decided to try a veggie calzone with mushrooms, olives and broccoli. That turned out to be delicious, and I have no regrets. I had the two artichokes another night, stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, sesame noodles and carrots another night. My favorite by far however was this recipe for roasted four cheese spaghetti squash. I could eat that every day, and I only had to make on change to it. Instead of using chicken boullion, I simply used a few spices I would put on a chicken myself, only because I’m not sure what “chicken powder” is, and that was the main ingredient in the boullion cube.

I’ve found, within the first two weeks, the most important tips a new vegetarian could find. Prep your meals. Always. Prep them, and also, shop for certain recipes. Make sure you’re buying what you need, rather than random things that you’ll throw together later in the week. Make sure what you’re buying can go together, or you risk having to go out again in the week for more ingredients, or whole meals. The second tip I’ve found is to not worry about your label. I feel odd calling myself vegetarian, I am afterall a very very new vegetarian. So am I really a vegetarian? I’m not a seasoned vegetarian anyway, so the word still leaves something of an aftertaste in my mouth. Forget labels. You’re not a vegetarian, you’re not anything. Just a human trying to eat, which happens to be humanities favorite past time, we even do it while experiencing our other favorite past times. When addressing my family, and my new diet, I left out the world vegetarian. They were the first to call me anything, and it was okay. No weird after taste, just pure conversation as I explained the things that turned me onto this new life style.

Turns out, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not finding many difficulties with it, and I’m already seeing good side effects. The most obvious was the money situation. I’m not struggling to keep my cart below a certain amount, in fact I’m struggling to spend everything in the budget. But I’m also mostly headache free, I’ve had one over the past two weeks, which is like  an all time low. I’m regular in the bathroom (sorry if that’s tmi, but it’s important even if we don’t talk about it.) I find that I have more energy already, I don’t get tired until sun down, where before I was yawning as early as noon. I’m finding that I’m fuller longer, and when I am full it’s not uncomfortable. I think these are all good things, and I’ll keep you updated on whatever else I notice.

The first two weeks have been successful, and I think this week I’ll be trying a new recipe. Something comforting as we fall into the fall season, litearlly. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

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A Little Something Special For You

Sometimes I get that feeling that I am boring. I’m not very special, and there are other people that are far more interesting than me. I don’t get that feeling just when I’m depressed though, I get it randomly. Weather or not I’m trying to progress in life or just sitting there watching the cat’s sleep. I get it.

I realized something though. No matter how many other people can write better than me. No matter how many other people have the exact same hair style or taste in music, no matter how many people like chocolate and vanilla ice cream but do not like them in a twist ice cream, I will be the only me. There will never be another combination of human traits quite like me. That of the 7.5 Billion people on this plant, I am the only one that ever is, was, or ever will be.

I think that’s something special, don’t you? I think that each and every one of us is as special as the next person because we are rare. As a species, not really so rare, at least not on Earth. But individually we are so rare that we are all on the endangered list. We are all a protected life form, because we are so rare. And that is why we have to treat each person that we bump into with love and respect.

That is why you have to treat yourself with love and respect, undoubtedly. 

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I’ve Been a Busy Bee

I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a while. Well, to me it feels like a while. I had planned on writing a few posts a week and then I got a job. I started that job yesterday. I’m working at a local supermarket and for the most part I like it. I mean, it’s a retail job and those are hardly the most exciting or rewarding jobs around, but it’s a job none-the-less so I am grateful to have it. I was starting to think I might actually rot away without my own means to make a living. A few days before my fist day on the job I spent some time with family and did some digging around. See, I stumbled onto a post somewhere about the total number of bees that have been killed due to us spraying for the Zika virus. The number makes me cringe. Makes my heart skip a beat, and hesitate on the next beat. Our bees are literally the one animal that we need the most, and we just killed off quite a few of them. Do I decided I should stop procrastinating and just look it up. What does it take to own a bee hive in Indiana?

Not much, turns out. You have to have the proper set up and someone has to come and inspect your hive for parasites and illness. That’s about it. And if you have shit neighbors, you might have to disguise the hive, which I plan to do anyway. I was actually in contact with the only apiary inspector in the whole state. She’s very very nice and has told me to contact her with anything I might need, at all. On top of that, there is a local bee club in my county that meets once a month, even during the winter. I plan to go next month and meet all of the people who are locally a part of the bee obsessed population. While researching things I needed and rules and regulations, I came upon a list of people who sell local honey. I ended up buying 40oz of the good ol’ raw honey. My desire to house a hive of my own was only tripled when I saw the nearly 20 hives that sat off in the distance on the families land that I bought the honey from. I’ve fallen into a hive of my own it seems. That same guy actually makes the bee hives that I will be needing! I’m ready, mentally. Knowledgeably, and physically, not so much. But I have all winter to prepare. I’m here though, and that’s half of the battle.

So I’ve been busy trying to learn all that I can about this topic. I’m desperate for spring and it’s not even technically fall yet. This happened last year after I grew my first tomatoes too. I grew tomatoes this year as well, but I’ve wanted the bees far longer than I’ve wanted the tomatoes. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be wearing my bee suit for long (or not, I’ve heard that you don’t actually need one. Morgan Freeman doesn’t wear one.) and I’ll be preaching about bee safety and love.

So rest assured, I’ll be continuing with this blog as well. And it might include some things about bees. Maybe my next post will be about the beloved honey bee? Only time will tell.

Mercury Retrograde

It’s at this point that many of you might turn and run. Mercury is in Retrograde, as of yesterday (31st). I’ve been seeing it’s effect since the 26th though.  I remember the first time I was aware of it too, I had just become really good friends with (a still good friend) who enlightened me to the idea that the planets could mess with us. Yeah, I didn’t believe it 100% at the time, I chalked it all up to superstition. But then, I believe that the moon has an effect on us, on a small level. I had believed that was all the placebo effect though, something I chose to believe so that each month I would have a day to renew and rejuvenate. That month however, I learned the ugly truth. Mercury fucks us when it goes retrograde. That month both my boyfriend and best friend went crazy. My boyfriend, who is highly emotional as it is, had a sort of break down, at the same time that we were discovering that my best friend was back into heroin. Not a good night. At all. I’m pretty sure that my work life was shit at that time too.

Anyway, I’ve tried to tread carefully during these times and since that one month last year, I’ve managed to handle the retrogrades well. Until now. Having just moved to a new state, I’m still learning the ropes and I have a job interview (today actually) and I’m helping my dad around the house and what not. As you might know, the Mercury retrograde tends to mess with communication, decisions, deals and travel. Travel is what’s being messed with here. My dad’s jeep died on the 26th of this month. Dead. Gone. Transmission locked up, missed two days of work. So he spends all day trying to get a loan to fix the stupid thing, and nobody is willing to help due to his bad credit (that his soon to be ex wife had the pleasure of ruining for him). So, he does the only thing he can. Trades in the broken jeep for less than a fourth of it’s value, puts that towards paying off the little that he owed, and signs his name in blood for a new car at the same dealership. So all is well we think. He’s gotta save up some money and it’ll be tight for a few weeks, probably for a month, but we will get through this. He won’t lose his job, he won’t miss any work and yay! Things are great now!

Don’t fool yourself. This morning he finds that there is a coolant leak in the car. OF COURSE! Now we are kind of back to square one, still waiting on some phone calls. He can borrow his dad’s truck for work, but now he’s got this laying neatly right back on his shoulders, and I feel just as stuck as him because I’m in no position to help. Hopefully (knock on wood) I get this job. I’ll let you guys know.

So, what can you do during a Retrograde?

Suggestion. Pray. Pull your tarot cards out. Cleanse your crystals. Meditate. Do yoga. Give up sugar. Drink massive amounts of tea. Smoke wacky-tobaccy. Put your coffee in a leak proof mug. Take precaution, and don’t make any big decisions. Don’t lock yourself into any big deals, like buying a car or a house unless you have to. Even then, double check everything.

I for one have started my day off with ultra creamy pumpkin spice coffee, took the black cat out on the leash (he loves the leash, and I gotta keep the black cat happy just in case). I sat in the fall-ish type weather and soaked up a bit of sun being thankful that the humidity has finally let up some for the rest of the week. I helped my dad get insurance on his new car, and (*update*) got the job. I feel like my luck is charged with positive energy right now and I’m going to cling to that energy without fear that it will leave. That’s it right there, try to bounce back quickly. When Mercury is in retrograde, it is not the time to worry. If you do, you run the high risk of attracting all that you are worried about. Attract that which you want and need, and know that this is only a hiccup in life and like anything else, it will pass in time.

What are some of the things that you can do during a retrograde to get life on the right track? Well, now is a good time to save money, just in case. Put some extra money into savings, and wait until after the retrograde is over to spend it, or use it for the things that go wrong during the retrograde. Go ahead and get some work done, make sure your car is working in proper order (wish I had known this before hand) or fix the leak under the sink. Don’t begin a serious relationship, but revitalize any current relationships you have, even if it’s not a romantic relationship. It’s important to keep clear and open communication during these times, as the Mercury retrograde effects communication and relationships. Most importantly, begin self work, or amp it up. Now is a good time to do so because believe it or not, the positive energy is stronger during this time, if you can focus on that instead of the negative.

Above all else, keep your head in the game, breath deep, and know that this too shall pass. 

What Is The Meaning Behind “The Indigo Way”?

Since I was little I remember thinking way outside of the box. The first instance of this that I remember is when I first learned of Ancient Egypt. I was told that they didn’t have money then, the ancients didn’t deal in coin but instead had a barter system. Almost everyone farmed on a large scale or a small scale. The jobs provided were those that did something for the people, rather than something for the individual. I remember very clearly asking my dad why we were not a part of that system. I understand now why, I mean how many loaves of bread would you have to make in order to trade for an Iphone? And how many wooden chairs can get you a house? The things that we value have grown in value, from small houses that were just what a family needed to houses that are much too large for that family and you have to fill the extra rooms with decorations and electronics. The cars we own are no longer to get us from point A to point B, they are to be our homes away from homes, some even have TV’s or wifi in them. Money is needed for these things. Even the laptop I’m using to write this on now costed money, and I’m sure that I couldn’t have  offered anything to barter to get it.

Since I was little, I couldn’t understand why people fought over land, or resources. “Just share them.” I thought. Why do I have to have permission to cross a boarder into another country. I didn’t see a line on the ground. I didn’t ask to be born an American. So why on Earth do I need to pay all of this money and prove that I’m first a citizen of America, and then prove to the people guarding the boarder that I’m a citizen using the passport I just paid to get, just to go see the Niagra Falls? It’s not even like I live on a separate chunk of land, it’s connected and I still have to prove I am who I say I am! The same goes for moving within the country. Sure, I’m free to pack up and move anytime I want, but if I want to drive, own a house, vote or get things like medical insurance or a library card, I have to prove I’m a citizen of that state. Why? I’m still American, why do I have to be a citizen of this state too? What if I want to move from state to state but also visit the library and check out some books while I’m passing through? The law states that I have to do these things and I never could understand this.

From a young age I have questioned such things. I’ve always wondered why the world was the way it was if it makes no sense. Perhaps there are those who it does make since to, but people like me don’t fall into that category. People like me are what are being referred to as Indigo’s. We aren’t from this time, we don’t conform to the current system. We are here to make a difference.

It is my belief that there are so many of us here today, and there are so many who are discovering their true calling and it’s happening at much quicker rates, because the world is getting ready for a massive change. Our society, weather or not it’s in our life time, will become one that helps the people rather than the few. We are here to make the changes necessary for everyone to become happy and healthy and that is why so many of us are less and less afraid to be who we are truly.  There was a time when I wouldn’t say out loud that I am an empath. I would know things, and someone would ask me how I knew, and I’d shrug and  say “I don’t know.” That’s not a lie, really, I don’t know how I know things, but I know why I know things. I know things because I felt them.

So The Indigo Way  is just a blog from an Indigo’s point of view. It’s me expressing my thoughts and feelings in words, sharing them with like minded people, and introducing them to those who might feel the same, but not know exactly what it is. It’s the Indigo way of life. The Indigo path. And I’ll tell you that it’ll be different for each and every one of us. The only thing that is true for all of us is that we want peace and happiness, knowledge and health but most of all acceptance. We are all here to make the world a better place and to heal this Earth.

If you are interested in learning about Indigo’s I suggest you read about  Nancy Ann Tappe, Jan Tober, and Lee Carroll. You can also look up the term “Indigo Child”. There are documentaries, books, blogs and videos about the topic. I hope that you find everything that you are looking for, and with that you can gain peace of mind and happiness.

Friends Are Forever (?)

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Every once in a while I find myself going through old pictures, remembering the time this or that happened and at first I get a laugh out of it but it always takes on a darker life in my mind. Those pictures almost always have someone in them that I no longer have in them. Today is one of those days, I’m sad to say. I never even really know how it happens until after I’m already feeling myself become upset. Today it was the birthday notification of someone I’m only ‘facebook friends’ with. I’m not even sure why I allowed that to happen in the first place, maybe I just wanted to know that she was okay and that the door was still open, even if I know I don’t want her to walk through that door back into my life. Maybe I’m just torturing myself. She’s now best friends with someone I grew up with, someone who was considered my very best friend for more than ten years. Someone I told everything to. Funny thing is, both girls were that to me at some point. Once the old best friend met the new best friend (and both were still my best friends) things started to change. I found that the old best friend was talking horribly about me behind my back to my new best friend. I have a zero tolerance policy, so that ended that. New best friend never really talked horribly about me, it was her actions that hurt but unfortunately those actions were always easy for me to forgive because I would always hold a decent amount of guilt about my own actions and it was easy enough to say “most of that was my fault anyway.” Not anymore. Now neither of them are my friends, and they spend all of their time together. Of  all the friends I made in grade school up through high school, I have one very good friend. Almost every single one of them ended up betraying me, and those who didn’t just fell off the planet so to speak. And after that, I’ve only made a hand full of good friends that I can still call good friends.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

But what is it about this type of relationship that makes it so hard to handle when things go wrong? It’s different from person to person, but in my case I’ve found that most of them just can’t understand where I’m coming from. Lets take this last friendship as an example. I’m growing, mentally and physically. My body is starting to crave health, and Earth. I want veggies over steak most of the time, I want to walk in nature rather than sit down and watch TV. I want to read and write instead of play video games, and I no longer enjoy window shopping unless it’s to do something with my grandmother. (It’s mostly talking rather than shopping anyway.) My friendships start failing once I progress to a new rung on the growth ladder. I’m leaving them behind. And in a lot of ways, that scares them. They can’t follow, or are unwilling to follow, and they do something to show how scared they are. They create drama, find a new friend, just stop talking to me, ect. There’s nothing I can do to stop it because I’m not going to give up on my self growth, and they aren’t going to put up with their crazy friend that they no longer have anything in common with.

The biggest lesson that I have learned since high school is that it’s okay to lose friends. You don’t have to have 300 friends, in fact you can’t actually have that many real friends. Where I sit today, I can count my good friends on one hand, and I’m okay with that. And they don’t even need to ask who they are, they know. So how do you know if your friends are real friends?

My first clue that I had a real friend was when she got a new boyfriend and started forgetting about me. I got upset, not understanding that this was expected. This was her first boyfriend, and she had been there through my first boyfriend. We didn’t talk (because I refused to) until she got into a car accident and I found out a month later through her mother. I called her up and yelled at her about how much of an asshole she was for not telling me, and asked her if she was okay. She’s fine she tells me, and she’s sorry also. We went back to normal, honestly and completely. That was our first and only fight in just about fifteen years. We knew we were both being silly and we knew we both loved each other.

The second clue was when one of my friends moved away. I never thought I could have a long distance relationship. She had been my roommate for a while and I’d grown to feel like she was a sister to me, so her moving was like losing a part of my family. I cried the night she left after I came home from work, which she had dropped me off at. I sat in her room, staring at all of the books she had left me (both avid readers here) and cried with my bottle of wine in hand. Today? We actually have an appointment to skype at some point. We write letters and send packages when we have the money for things, and we tell each other everything still. I’ve no doubt in my mind that I’ll see her again someday, and I know for a fact that it’ll be as if we weren’t apart at all.

My third clue was when I had forgotten to keep up on the relationship with a friend (due to a very hectic work life), and instead of becoming insecure and upset, she just gently reached out to me asking me to go see a movie with her. I accepted, it was a Guillermo Del Toro movie, which happens to be one of my favorite types of movies. We both enjoyed it, and I realized that night that it was possible to have friends who lived their lives and allowed you to live your life while understanding that we won’t be in constant contact. The amount of love is still there, and I owe her a book that I didn’t end up having the money to get her. She’d never hold it against me though.

I’d say that it’s going to be hard to recognize your good friends from the not so good ones, but it’s an important thing to be able to do. It saves you from chasing the ones that never really wanted much to do with you, they were just bored or craved drama. It’ll save you the heartache when you’re a few years down the road and looking back at old pictures. This morning was the first time I looked at old pictures and instead of feeling my heart break over again, I felt relief that I was no longer caught up in the web of bad friends. Friendship really is forever, but it takes a true friend to create that bond. No matter how much you put into it, if they are not true friends, it will not last.

My only suggestion is this. Be one hundred percent true to yourself. If you don’t like something, you have to speak up and say so. If you’re feeling a way about something someone else has done, you have to tell them, and if they are true to your friendship, things will turn out alright. No relationship is perfect. There will be arguments or debates, and weeks to months of no talking. But the one thing you must always remember is that during these times, they will not try to hurt you by calling you names, talking behind your back, sharing your secrets or playing on your insecurities. They will still show respect and love or they will walk away before hurting you. These are your true friends, those that will grow with you and understand you.

“Don’t  walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”
― Albert Camus

What is happiness anyway?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

Happiness is something that I’ve always struggled to recognize. Having come from a troubled childhood, I was hardly shown the path to true happiness. In fact, the happiest times that I can remember were when I could go off and do my own thing (usually in the woods) far away from the people I lived with. During the times that I had my dad in my life, I also was happy, because he understood me. Unfortunately, relying on another to bring you happiness doesn’t work. I can’t always have my dad around, I know that one day he will pass away and what then? Will I live the rest of my life in a dark and lonely place? Will I refuse to turn on the lights or open a book? Luckily, I learned from my dad that happiness isn’t something you can seek out in others. It’s something you find, and it can come from anywhere.

When I was young, I lived in North Carolina. (Sunnyview NC I think.) Behind our house, which was on a hill, there was a beautiful wood. I would find myself wandering around by myself, and I couldn’t help but to get lost. I don’t mean that I got lost literally, I mean that hours would go by and yet I craved for more time to spend with the trees. This is a place that I still dream of, so much so that I had to write something to get my mind back to that place. I long for those trees, specifically the one that has the hump that I used to sit on. I have yet to find a tree that grew just for me to nap upon. I remember that as being the first place that I was truly happy, and that’s including the massive sunflower patch behind our townhouse in (Hendersonville) North Carolina. For the first time, I was alone and happy. Whatever happened to that?

What is happiness, anyway? Is it a feeling or a state of mind? Is it something that you can find or is it something that you create? I think it might differ between each person. For me, for a long time, it was something I chased and dreamed about. It was something that I might never get if I were to stay in my mom’s house. It was something that I didn’t deserve because according to her I was a bad child. I was made to feel as if I didn’t deserve the things that a normal child deserves. I was the reason I was so miserable. At such a young age, how could I have known that this was untrue? It wasn’t until my teen years that I began to realize how wrong my mother was, and how much I did deserve. Even now I have a problem accepting gifts from people. I still have that lingering feeling that I don’t deserve what they have to give. I think this is where happiness is vital in the quest to repair the damage done to me as a kid. It’s something I rarely experienced.

I find now that I usually catch myself being happy. (Oh no! I’m happy again!) It’s still a strange feeling to me, and to some that might make them sad. It might take away a little of their own happiness, but it doesn’t need to. I’m happy that I can actually feel this feeling. I can actually be in this state of mind. For so long I was afraid to be happy. I resisted the thought, which made it worse. Whenever someone told me that I was afraid to be happy I would laugh at them. Of course I’m not afraid to be happy, I long for it, so why would I be afraid of it? Silly me right? Of course I was afraid of it, because every ounce of happiness I had ever had would be stolen away from me by my own mother through my entire childhood. Even today she tries to whittle a little away at a time, but I’m wise to her games now. The unfortunate thing about it is that she isn’t aware of her own state of mind. She’s unaware that those little bombs that she plants are designed to steal the other person’s happiness away. That’s how she’s always gotten her happiness because her mom was worse than she.

Which means that happiness can’t be gained. It can’t be stolen or taken thus it cannot be fought for. We are all fighting for this thing, this elusive thing. If only we could catch it, but it can’t be caught either. It can’t be obtained in any way because (and listen closely, this is important) it’s already there. 

The entire time I lived with my mom I had happiness. Lets set the scene. I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing, say reading. My mom comes in and asks a question and I respond without looking at her (I can’t lose my spot on the page after all) and she then gets angry. Suddenly she’s slamming my door closed and bitching up a storm in the hallway. I keep myself occupied with my book which pisses her off further, but I know if I confront the situation it’ll get worse anyway. So I keep on reading. What happens next is where I learned my lesson. If I wouldn’t bring the fight to her, she would bring it to me. Her source of false happiness was to take mine from me, and since I am clearly happy in my room reading, she has no choice but to try to take it. So in comes my mom with her bitch storm and allegations. Fight. Always a fight, no matter how long I try to withhold myself from it, she would pick and pick until I couldn’t hold out anymore. My stone walls were only so thick. That’s all fine and dandy, we are only human after-all and sometimes our tops blow. But had I known back then that even then she couldn’t take my happiness from me, maybe things might have effected me less. We’d fight, and I’d come back to my room, to my book that lay face down and waiting, but my temperature was too high. I couldn’t calm down after the blow out, and so I didn’t pick that book back up for a while. I would roll the fight over in my mind, re-play and try to figure out what I had done so wrong to piss my mother off. She had won. She was now sitting in her bedroom watching Wheel of Fortune and I was hot headed on my bed trying to make sense of the world and berating myself for reacting to her crap. Had I known that if I had just picked that book back up and not let her negativity take over, I would have been happy yet again, like I originally was while reading the book in the first place.

There’s no sense in berating myself about all of this now, I can’t change it. But I can still learn from it, and I have. I’ve learned when to recognize when my mom is fishing for feelings she can play off of, and I’ve learned to not care. That’s the trick. 

You’re in the drive through and someone behind you honks at you even though you can’t move up in line, and then you get the wrong order and you’ve already had a bad day so all you wanted were some God damn’d french fries. You storm into the place with bag in hand, and yell that you need the proper order and your fries are cold. God damn it the fries are cold!!! You’re head’s so hot that the employees can see the steam rising, but you’ve just treated them like garbage so they take their sweet time which only makes you more angry. You see this cycle that’s forming? Rewind.

You’re in line after having a horrible day and you want some french fried goodness in your tummy. So you pull into the McDanks and ask for a large fry. The guy behind you is also impatient about getting his fries. (Damnit all you need in life is a bunch of fries!) But what can you do, really? Not that much. But you’re having quite a shit day and the fella behind you might be as well. You pull up to pay for those delicious potato sticks and decide to pay for the poor fella behind you who is too anxious to get his fries. Instead of giving you the wrong order, you end up with extra fries because you were nice enough to pay for the asshat that’s in the car behind you. The McDanks thanks you because they get to deliver good news, the guy behind you is happy because he saved a buck, you’ve got extra fries and your day has turned around a little. Maybe it’ll be a good day after all. I’ve seen this happen many times actually. I worked in a Dunkin Donuts, and almost every Friday there was a pay it forward in our drive through. People pull up with frowns and leave with a smile having paid for someone else’s coffee.

Now, I’m not saying that when you’re having a bad day you should go buy someone else’s fries. That can get to be expensive and there’s not guarantee that the employee will give you that extra fry. But happiness, and love, are actually free. Say you’re in line this time, inside the restaurant, and you’re having a horrible day and the kid with his mother behind you is just screaming. He also wants his french fries but he hates standing in line. What can you do? Turn and yell back? Bottle it in and get progressively more and more pissed off? Or maybe turn to the kid and say what everyone in line is thinking. “Hey, I want my fries too. Aren’t they so good?” He’ll probably be taken aback (most kids would be anyway) and stop crying long enough to evaluate the situation. During that time we can throw another question his way. “So, have you ever tried dipping them in barbecue sauce, like you do with your nuggets? It’s actually really good.”  At this point, you’ve probably stopped the melt down that was about to happen, and he’s probably going to answer you (provided he’s not actually a spoiled brat, In which case run to the nearest bar and grab a shot of whiskey). Mom’s happy, the employees are happy, you’re happy and the kid is happy and probably talking your ear off (or hiding behind mom because he’s actually shy. Go figure!) That was free and it ate up enough time that you’re now next in line! Hurrah!

My point is that happiness is always there, it’s just hidden in your perspective. You can choose to react negatively, or you can choose to react in a positive manner. I promise that if you make the latter the habit, you’ll find happiness in everything that you do. But don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. They happen to everyone and nobody can do it 100% of the time. I’m over here just going on and on about being happy and how to do it but I’m going to be the first to tell you that the negative reaction is what you’re likely to get from me if you’re honking at me in a drive through. But I’ll carry that on, and I’ve done so in the past. I’m angry about this guy being an ass in the drive through, I decide I don’t care and later on when I am in the grocery store and see someone wandering up the aisle looking miserable, I shoot them a genuine smile. Most people will give me one back, and if I happen to see them later in the store, they are still wearing it.

Happiness begins with a smile.

So what is happiness to you?

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Just a small bit of happiness I found yesterday at the Indianapolis Canal